CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras High Court has expressed its ‘disappointment’ over the inaction on the part of the officials concerned in checking the menace of erection of illegal hoardings in several parts of the city.
“We must express our disappointment that repeatedly new hoardings keep coming up even after orders have been passed. Does it not show that the authorities concerned appear to be either devoid of machinery to check this or doubt is created on their intent,” the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan observed and made it clear that if this menace is not stopped, it will have no option but to appoint a court committee to take over the task. The bench was passing interim orders on two PILs seeking to remove the illegal hoardings.
The Additional Advocate-General assured the court that this occasion would not arise and that corrective action would be taken and the steps enunciated in the next status report.
Stating that the respondent authorities should explore as to how a single window clearance can be worked out for the purposes of grant of licence so that the compliant people should not be made to run from pillar to post, the bench adjourned the matter till August 29. When the matter came up on Wednesday, the Chennai District Collector, the authority granting licence, filed a status report.
The bench noted that huge hoardings are being erected without obtaining licence. It is removed only when the petitioners approach the court. They cannot be expected to roam around the streets to check where such illegal hoardings are erected. It is shocking to note another huge hoarding erected on the Government Eco Park near Chetpet bridge. The AAG states that this cannot be with license. If so, how this cropped up, the bench wondered. It shows that one of the trees was chopped off for the benefit of this hoarding. The same is the position of another hoarding at the TN Aquaculture Laboratory, Kilpauk, near Chetpet bridge. Similar is the position with the TN Aquaculture Laboratory building opposite Ega Theatre. Considering the number of violations, the bench directed the Director of Fisheries Department to remain personally present in the court on August 29.
In the status report, it is pointed out that six agencies have erected hoardings on the railway premises. These are stated to be unauthorised hoardings and the General Manager, Southern Railways was already asked to remove them. But a number of them are yet to be removed, despite communication to the GM. The report also states that when the tahsildar, Purasawalkam, approached the Railways Senior Divisional Managers to remove the structures, he was informed that since considerable amount was collected for granting permission for erection of hoardings on the railway premises, the issue of compensation would arise.